PHOENIX – Though he has endured a string of setbacks in his cancer treatment, Jim Wells has yet to decide if he will run for a 16th term as registration secretary for the Southern Baptist Convention at its June meeting in Phoenix.
“I’m leaving that open,” Wells told The Pathway. “I’m getting ready for the meeting, but if something happens with my treatment that won’t let me go, that’ll be fine too.”
Wells served from 2012-15 as strategic partners team leader at the Missouri Baptist Convention before retiring in December. Prior to that, he served nearly 12 years as director of missions for the Tri County Baptist Association in southwest Missouri.
Wells was first elected to the registration secretary post 15 years ago when the convention met in St. Louis.
“Some friends urged me to run, and I prayed about it,” he said. “I never thought I would win.”
But he did win, and kept doing so for the next 14 elections.
“Computer and the refining of our processes have made things go a lot smoother, but the key thing is the people I work with,” Wells said. “The volunteers over the years who gave their time are the ones who make it all work and make the job wonderful.”
He has served as a member of the SBC Executive Committee, president of the Missouri directors of missions fellowship and as a leader in various Baptist associations.
Wells has been in ministry since his days as a student at Hannibal-LaGrange College (now Hannibal-LaGrange University) in the late 1960s when he concurrently pastored two country churches.
He was Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s 2004 national alumnus of the year, and HLGU awarded him an honorary doctorate of sacred theology degree in 1999.
He and his wife Judy have a grown daughter and a granddaughter.